Monday, July 09, 2012

Journey On

(I hesitated for a moment on capitalizing the second word in the title, but my editor brain said, "Capitalize the first and last words in a title," so there you have it.)

I went back to the beginning of my blog today and realized that I started writing this behemoth before my son was born. He will be seven the first week in August. That's a long time and a lot of words. Seven! Seven. That's substantial in kid years. Although he still thinks his sister has it all over him. He was talking about her impending Bat Mitzvah (in three years!) and said, "Wow, she'll be the only kid in the family that has two numbers [double digits]." He cracks me up. She'll be in double digits in less than a year. But his brain doesn't work that way.

I took him to get his hair cut yesterday. I was watching him in the mirror, watching him as he couldn't watch me, because his eyes were closed and his head was down. His face was a little flushed from the heat, and his skin was tanned from our recent, unplanned trip to the mountains. Every so often, he'd look up and see me staring, catch my eye, and smile at me. His grin would round his cheeks and show his dimples, and the two front teeth that are partly grown in. We'd smile at each other, and the stylist would ask him to put his head back down.

And I'd watch, not seeing my almost seven-year-old, but seeing the 12-month-old sitting up straight in the red metal car, dodging the comb every time the stylist came near his face. The three-year-old with his eyes fixed on the TV screen, unwilling to look down at his belly, even with the promise of a lollipop if he did. The five-year-old who shyly tugged at my arm and whispered to me to remind the lady that he "doesn't like the water" sprayed on his hair.

I hear echoes of the future, wondering what battles lie before me. He wants to grow it longer, and I think it looks better short. We're disagreeing over style, and maybe even color. I glance back to the present, to the rounded cheeks, and fight back the urge to gather him in my arms and make him swear to me that he won't grow it out too long, or fight me on his curfew. Or break my heart.

I blink back the tears and look away before he can see them. When the stylist finishes, I ask him if he wants a little gel in the front. This is usually the highpoint of his haircut, getting a little product and strutting around like a "cool dude" for the rest of the day. But he smiles and declines. She offers it to him and he says no thank you. "A little water, then," she says, wetting her hands and combing them through his now-shortened locks so that the front stands up just a bit. I expect him to recoil at the touch of the water, but he takes it like a man.

When we exit the shop, I grasp his hand to cross the parking lot to the car. He doesn't pull away as he usually does, and I am grateful. His still-small fingers entwine with my own. I breathe deeply, trying to memorize the moment and the feeling, knowing the next seven years will pass by just as quickly.

No comments: